Main content area

Cradle-to-gate greenhouse gas impact of nanoscale thin-film solid oxide fuel cells considering scale effect

Kawajiri, Kotaro, Inoue, Tsutomu
Journal of cleaner production 2016 v.112 pp. 4065-4070
cradle-to-gate, electrolytes, energy, fuel cells, greenhouse gases, manufacturing, temperature
The development of thin-film electrolytes to operate solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) at a temperature range <500 °C is an active area of research for reducing the costs and improving the reliability of SOFCs for a broad range of applications. This paper examines the cradle-to-gate greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of thin-film-based SOFCs considering scale effect and compares them with conventional planar and tubular SOFCs based on high-temperature sintering. The GHG impact of ultra-thin-film cells generating 1 kW total power was estimated to be <400 kg. Despite the use of relatively energy intensive semiconductor-based manufacturing steps, the GHG impact of thin-film SOFCs was found to be lower than that of conventional SOFCs based on high-temperature-ceramic manufacturing methods. The simpler balance of plant design for low-temperature SOFCs and the benefit of the low GHG impact of thin-film SOFCs suggest that the GHG impact of the entire system could be lower than that of conventional SOFCs.